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The Sonar North American Championships were held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin over three days on September 19- 21. An open invitation to all boats in the Sonar Class brought 21 boats to this picturesque town located north of Chicago on the Wisconsin-Illinois border. Two boats from Manhasset Bay were on the starting line: Mike McAllister brought his brand new Sonar, Puff, to the Midwest from Providence, RI, where they moved several years ago from our area. Mike skippered the boat, and Kristen McAllister, Sue Miller and Ted Toombs rounded out the crew. The other Manhasset Bay boat belonged to Greg and Beth Danilek, who brought their boat, Housemartin, to Lake Geneva for the competition. With Greg as skipper, his crew included Beth Danilek, Brian Hayes and Jonathan Siener. The weather for this regatta created a very interesting three days of sailing as the wind offered a variety of conditions to challenge the sailors - stormy for the first two days of sailing, with high winds, rain and several severe squalls. On Thursday, while the fleet was having a lunch break, a tremendous squall hit one side of the parking lot, flipping over many boats off their trailers, and tipping over two optimist racks of boats, scattering Optis as far away as 200 yards down the shoreline. The sailors were fortunately on shore having a lunch break at the time. They were not so lucky the following day, as another squall hit during the second race of the day, on a downwind leg with spinnakers flying. One sailor commented that the green sky "looked like it would miss but all of the sudden it was on us," causing several boats to capsize. All were accounted for. On the third day, winds were so light that the fleet was barely able to finish racing. And, as anyone who has sailed on a lake in the Midwest knows, light winds can be very fluky. Such was the case on the last day of racing, as a wind gust (relative term on a light wind day) randomly hit just one corridor of the lake, giving some boats a real advantage. Even with these challenging conditions, our two Sonar teams did very well in the standings: Greg Danilek and crew came in fifth out of 21 boats, and Mike McAllister and his crew came in sixth overall. Considering the competition - the top two boats on the scoreboard hailed from Marblehead, MA, an area known for producing great Sonar sailors - our two teams did very well in the standings. Congrats to all.

Manhasset Bay YC was the host to the fourth Sunday of the USODA (United States Optimist Dinghy Association) Region 2 Fall Series on Long Island Sound. These young sailors have been competing at various yacht clubs north and south of the sound, in a series that began on the Sunday, Sept. 8, and continued on subsequent Sundays throughout September, ending on the first Sunday , Oct. 6. The format for the clinic consists of 0n-the-water coaching in the morning and racing during the afternoon. After 11 races, Teddy Himler is in first place, and two other young sailors from our bay also are doing well: Evan Read and Willie Himler.

Bay racing results were not available at press time, but information from the Women's Racing Clinic (WRC) were out on our bay racing in a stiff breeze on Saturday, Sept. 28. Two boats, sailing in Ideal 18s finished the only race for the day. Cindy Jordan (skipper) with Nan Barry and Erin Kinney won the race, and Vivien Shiah with Aviva Pinto taking second.

The skirts are off and the race is on! After months of intrigue, suits, arbitration panels, innuendos and all the usual shenanigans that precede actually racing, The Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger series to decide which syndicate will compete against the defender Team New Zealand, started Oct. 1, with Round One. Team Dennis Conner, representing the New York YC, beat GBR Challenge (Great Britain) by 20 seconds to win. The New York YC, as is typical of such an august organization, held an America's Cup Kick-Off on Monday evening, Sept. 30. With their long involvement in America's Cup defenses and challenges, there were many in attendance who have firsthand experience in Cup races in the past. As dessert was served, a cadre of Cup veterans spoke of their experiences: Halsey Herreshoff, president of the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI covered the 1958 race with Columbia, Bizzy Monte-Sano, 1962 Weatherly; NYYC Commodore George Isdale, 1964 American Eagle; Bizzy Monte-Sano, 1967 Intrepid, NYYC Read Commodore George Hinman (who grew up in Port Washington and learned to sail on Manhasset Bay), 1970 Valiant; Rich du Moulin (who also learned to sail on Manhasset Bay), 1974 Mariner and 1977 Courageous; and Halsey Herreshoff, 1980 Freedom, and 1983 Liberty. Last to speak was Ed du Moulin, of Sands Point, who gave reflections on Dennis Conner and his more than 60 years involvement in Cup races. The program ended with one of Mr. du Moulin's tapes called What Goes Down Must Come Up, depicting crew vowing to bring the Cup "back to the USA." With spirits high, the group proceeded to the Model Room to watch the first race of Round One of the Louis Vuitton Series on OLN. The next race for Team Dennis Conner is on Wednesday, when they go head-to-head with the defending champions, Prada.

All three American syndicates faired well on the racecourse in Round One. In other matches on Tuesday, Oracle BMW Racing, beat Italian Prada by 42 seconds, and OneWorld beat Mascalzone Latino by five minutes 43 seconds. And Swiss Alinghi beat the French syndicate Le Defi Areva by four minutes 48 seconds. While it is much too early to call, it appears that Team Dennis Conner, Oracle Racing and OneWorld are syndicates with great possibilities.

For those of us who cannot watch the series because Cablevision decided not to include OLN in its line-up of programs (which includes everyone on Long Island), readers can prevail on friends in New York City, who receive OLN, or they can subscribe to Virtual Spectator, which began covering the Louis Vuitton Series over the Internet Oct. 1 - live and in 3D. The latest version of Virtual Spectator will broadcast all 120 races for $24.95. If interested, go to:

http://www.louisvuittoncup.yahoo.com/section7.html


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